What is UTM?

UTM is an acronym for Universal Transverse Mercator Grid System, but please don't try to memorize this because it's not very useful (except to impress your simple minded friends). UTM is the most common of many grid systems. It is used to provide position information much the same at latitude/longitute (LAT/LON). The reason grid systems were created was to simplify the process of calculating and plotting positions and distances.

If you have ever tried to calculate your LAT/LON on a map, you probably found that it is not an easy task beacuse the size of each degree, minute, and second changes realtive to your latitude. UTM uses a constant of 1 unit = 1 meter regardless of your latitude.

Note: There are many web sites that explain everything you would possibly want to know about the UTM system, especially on how the each grid is constructed. You do not need to know this to use UTM.